Energy UK, leading smart meter display manufacturer, geo, and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have been working with energy suppliers to develop an Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD) for smart meters for blind and visually impaired people. 

Smart meters come with an In-Home Display (IHD) showing customers how much energy they have used. The aim of this project is to allow more customers to access the benefits of smart meters which can save consumers energy and money. Features of the AIHD include high-contrast, tactile buttons and speech output.

Energy UK and geo have worked together to design and manufacture the units, with RNIB providing expert advice, working alongside blind and partially sighted user groups to provide feedback and guidance to shape the overall design specification.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said: “There are over 12 million smart meters already in homes and businesses across the country and Energy UK and energy suppliers are determined that everyone should be able to experience the benefits.

“These displays will enable blind and visually impaired people to access their data which will in turn help them improve their energy efficiency and reduce spending on gas and electricity.

 “This partnership with RNIB and geo is a great example of how Energy UK and its members are leading industry collaboration, focused on bringing innovation and value to all consumers.”

John Worsfold, RNIB implementation manager, said: “With the government drive for smart meters to be in 53 million homes by 2020, it is essential that blind and partially sighted customers can also benefit from being able to monitor energy usage and potentially save energy and money.

“We’re pleased to be involved with this project and look forward to seeing the AIHD in consumers’ homes very soon.”

Accessible In-Home Display (AIHD) for blind and visually impaired people units will be ready for testing with energy suppliers later this year and available for customers from the first half of 2019.

If you or a family member have sight loss or other accessibility needs, contact your supplier who will discuss the options available, and will be able to provide further information on smart metering, including the AIHD. Alternatively, speak to your supplier about accessibility options when they contact you about installing a smart meter.

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